New Delhi: A former IAS officer has moved the Supreme Court against the government’s proposal to allow lateral entry in the higher bureaucracy, saying it will compromise “the accountability and transparency of the government”.
Dr Chandra Pal, a bureaucrat of the 1972 batch, retired in 2005 as secretary, ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises.
In his petition, he has criticised the government for the proposal, saying, “The real intention appears to intake (sic) following a particular ideology matching that of the current ruling establishment.”
Last month, the department of personnel and training (DoPT) issued an advertisement inviting private sector specialists for lateral entry in the post of joint secretary in at least 10 ministries and departments. The recruitment is to be on contract basis for three to five years. The proposal has invited criticism and praise in equal measure. Many people have hailed it as the need of the hour, especially since several ministries are led by bureaucrats with expertise in completely unrelated fields.
“The… notification makes the choice of a lateral entrant arbitrary. Anyone who is close to the incumbent government will get the position, making it difficult for bureaucrats who came through the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission),” Chandra Pal’s petition states.
The move, it adds, will likely lead to the “politicisation of bureaucracy” and “favouritism” and is in contravention of constitutional provisions.
“Appointing officers to the government is the mandate of the UPSC, not the DoPT, which is only a cadre-controlling authority and not an appointing authority,” said advocate Nirmal Kumar Ambastha, who has filed the petition on Chandra Pal’s behalf. “How can a controlling authority become an appointing authority all of sudden?”
He said there was no provision in the law allowing contractual appointments in the bureaucracy. “What happens when a person’s contract is over and they go back and start working for their company? Who will take responsibility of their actions after they are gone?” Ambastha added.
The petition also seeks to argue that such a move would be used by “profit-driven” business houses as “an opportunity to push in their own men”.
The decision, he adds, will “bypass” the reservation policy. “Such new selection process will adversely impact the constitutional mandate for affirmative action,” the petition adds.